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UAlbany Awarded Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Grant to Bring Distinguished Science Writers and Journalists to Campus

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 3, 2007) -- The College of Arts and Sciences Journalism Program has received a grant of $25,000 from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation to bring leading science writers and journalists to campus. They will participate in seminars, lectures, and public events, which are being scheduled as part of the launch of the new undergraduate journalism major.

The grant will provide students with the opportunity to participate in discussions with noted writers and scientists on a variety of current topics. The goal is to teach students how to communicate complex concepts and information more clearly to the general public, by placing them in the middle of ongoing debates on global warming, genetic engineering, and other pressing issues.

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Joan Wick Pelletier said, "I am pleased that our first grant in support of the new major in Journalism comes from an organization with a mission to promote the excellent, ethical, and responsible journalistic standards that we aspire to instill in our students."

The grant will complement a course, Reporting on Science and Technology, taught by Professor Thomas Bass in the spring 2007 semester. The course is part of the program's science, technology, and society concentration.

"This is a timely gift that enriches our curricular offerings in science journalism," said Bass. "The grant confirms our view that the Journalism Program, while extremely popular, is also extremely important. We've been spotted by a foundation which recognizes ethics and excellence in Journalism, and this is what we do."

Spring semester lecture series:

Feb. 8: Richard Harris, NPR science reporter, will talk on "Nanotech: What It Is and What It Isn't"

Feb. 15: Dan Shapley, Poughkeepsie Journal, environment editor, will talk on "The Human Ecology of the Hudson River Valley" (field trip, open to media only)

Feb. 28: John Allen Paulos, author, Innumeracy and A Scientist Reads the Newspaper, will talk on "Numbers in the News: Using Them and Abusing Them"

March 15: Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer-prize-winning author of The Coming Plague and Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Public Health, will talk on "Covering the Collapse of Public Health: A Journalist Reports from the Front"

March 29: Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker science writer, will speak on "Global Warming" (sponsored by the Provost's Office)

April 12: Natalie Angier, Pulitzer-prize-winning science reporter for The New York Times, and David Sloan Wilson, author of Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion and the Nature of Society, will debate "God vs. Science" (co-sponsored with the New York State Writers Institute)

April 26: Les Roberts, professor at the Columbia University School of Public Health and author of the Lancet article on "Mortality at the 2003 Invasion of Iraq," will talk on "The Iraqi Death Count." Respondent: Alan Chartock.

Based in Oklahoma City, the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation was established in 1982 for charitable, scientific, and educational purposes, including the improvement of the quality of the practice of journalism among various media. This support includes funding for creative projects and research that promotes excellence in journalism and instills and encourages high ethical standards in journalism.

The University at Albany recently received approval from State University of New York (SUNY) and the State Education Department to begin a 36-credit bachelor's degree program in journalism. Students interested in journalism previously studied the subject as a minor in the English Department, which began in 1973. The minor still continues. The new undergraduate program offers students four concentrations: public affairs journalism; science, technology, and society; digital and visual media; and general journalism.

The University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in nine schools and colleges, and an honors college. For more information about this internationally ranked institution, visit theUniversity at Albany. Visit UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts.

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